US restricts future oil leasing in NPR-A

  • Spanish Market: Crude oil
  • 19/04/24

President Joe Biden's administration today finalized a rule to prohibit future oil leasing on nearly half of the 23mn-acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), adding to a flurry of recent environmental regulations that have frustrated oil interests.

The rule will make it harder for oil producers to expand beyond development in the northeast section of NPR-A, where ConocoPhillips is developing its $8bn Willow drilling project. The rule outright bans new leasing on 10.6mn acres of the reserve, including around the ecologically sensitive Teshekpuk lake "special area" that is believed to hold large volumes of crude. The rule also restricts future leasing on an additional 2mn acres in the NPR-A that includes other special areas.

"These natural wonders demand our protection," Biden said. "I am proud that my administration is taking action to conserve more than 13mn acres in the western Arctic."

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it received more than 100,000 comments on its proposal to limit oil leasing in the NPR-A, a federal area established in 1923 where commercial oil production began only in 2015. The restrictions came after former president Donald Trump tried to increase drilling in the NPR-A through a plan to allow leasing on an additional 7mn acres, including around Teshekpuk lake.

With the rule complete, BLM said it plans to solicit input on whether to revise the boundaries of the "special areas" and identify additional lands in NPR-A that could qualify for protection. Biden administration officials previously described the rule as creating a "one-way ratchet" for conservation that a new administration could not reverse.

The rule will not affect existing oil and gas leases in NPR-A, including Biden's decision in 2023 to approve the Willow project, which is expected to reach a peak output of 180,000 b/d and that environmentalists strongly opposed. BLM said the 10.6mn acres of NPR-A that it closed to leasing has only medium or low potential for oil and gas resources.

Environmentalists cheered the new NPR-A restrictions, with Sierra Club executive director Ben Jealous calling it a "major victory" for the arctic. But oil industry groups say the restrictions are a step in the wrong direction, adding to other recent regulations they say will make it hard to produce energy on federal land. BLM recently finalized more stringent bonding requirements for onshore and offshore land, in addition to finalizing a plan to lease federal land for conservation.

"This misguided rule from the Biden administration sharply limits future oil and natural gas development in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, a region explicitly intended by Congress to bolster America's energy security," American Petroleum Institute senior vice president of regulatory affairs Dustin Meyer said.

The administration has been working to finish regulations in recent weeks ahead of an upcoming deadline where any rule could be subject to "disapproval" in 2025 under the Congressional Review Act. The exact deadline remains in flux because it depends on how long the US Congress stays in session, but it could arrive as early as next month.


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20/05/24

Iran's president dies in helicopter crash

Iran's president dies in helicopter crash

Dubai, 20 May (Argus) — Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash alongside his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, state media reported early today. The two were confirmed dead more than 12 hours after news broke on 19 May afternoon that a helicopter carrying them had suffered "a hard landing" in Iran's East Azerbaijan province as he was returning from Azerbaijan, where he had inaugurated the Qiz Qalasi dam, alongside his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. "Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, the eighth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who had an air accident on Sunday evening as he was returning to [the Iranian city of] Tabriz from the inauguration ceremony of the Qiz Qalasi dam…reached martyrdom, along with his companions," Iran's state news agency Irna reported. The governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan province, Malek Rahmati, and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali al-Hashem, the representative to the province of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were also on board the helicopter. More than 50 search and rescue teams were dispatched, with support from allied countries, including Russia. Moscow said on 19 May it had sent 47 specialists, all-terrain vehicles and a BO-105 helicopter. Difficult weather conditions, nightfall, and the mountainous terrain had "complicated efforts" by the search and rescue teams to first locate the exact site of the crash, and then reach it, said Iran's interior minister Ahmad Vahidi. But officials on 20 May reported that the search had narrowed, with the head of Iran's Red Crescent Pir Hossein Kolivand confirming at around 06:00 local time (02:30 GMT) that the wreckage had been found. On arriving at the site, rescuers confirmed that there were "no signs of life." Images shared by state media showed only the helicopter's tail had remained intact, with the entirety of the helicopter's cabin significantly damaged and charred. The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing, but all Iranian officials are pointing to the bad weather as the primary reason for the helicopter losing control. Iran's cabinet held an extraordinary meeting in the aftermath of announcement of the president's death. This was chaired by the country's first vice president Mohammad Mokhber, who will assume the president's powers and functions with the approval of the supreme leader, as per the constitution. A council, consisting of the speaker of the parliament, head of the judiciary and the first vice president, will now be obliged to arrange for a new president to be elected within a maximum of 50 days. This requires that an election now be held on or before 9 July. By Nader Itayim Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update


17/05/24
17/05/24

Houston refiners weather hurricane-force winds: Update

Adds Calcasieu comment, update on flaring reporting Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Calcasieu's 136,000 b/d refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, was unaffected by the storm and operations are normal, the refiner said. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. Emissions filings with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are yet to indicate the extent of any flaring and disruption to operations in the Houston area Thursday evening, but will likely be reported later Friday and over the weekend. Gulf coast refiners ran their plants at average utilization rates of 93pc in the week ended 10 May, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), up by two percentage points from the prior week as the industry heads into the late-May Memorial Day weekend and beginning of peak summer driving season. The next EIA data release on 22 May will likely reveal any dip in Gulf coast refinery throughputs resulting from the storm. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds


17/05/24
17/05/24

Houston area refiners weather hurricane-force winds

Houston, 17 May (Argus) — Over 2mn b/d of US refining capacity faced destructive winds Thursday evening as a major storm blew through Houston, Texas, but the damage reported so far has been minimal. Wind speeds of up to 78 Mph were recorded in northeast Houston and the Houston Ship Channel — home to five refineries with a combined 1.5mn b/d of capacity — faced winds up to 74 Mph, according to the National Weather Service . Further South in Galveston Bay, where Valero and Marathon Petroleum refineries total 818,000 b/d of capacity, max wind speeds of 51 Mph were recorded. Chevron's 112,000 b/d Pasadena refinery on the Ship Channel just east of downtown Houston sustained minor damage during the storm and continues to supply customers, the company said. ExxonMobil's 564,000 b/d Baytown refinery on the Ship Channel and 369,000 b/d Beaumont, Texas, refinery further east faced no significant impact from the storm and the company continues to supply customers, a spokesperson told Argus . Neither Phillips 66's 265,000 b/d Sweeny refinery southwest of Houston nor its 264,000 b/d Lake Charles refinery 140 miles east in Louisiana were affected by the storm, a spokesperson said. There was no damage at Motiva's 626,000 b/d Port Arthur, Texas, refinery according to the company. Marathon Petroleum declined to comment on operations at its 593,000 b/d Galveston Bay refinery. Valero, LyondellBasell, Pemex, Total, Calcasieu and Citgo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on operations at their refineries in the Houston area, Port Arthur and Lake Charles. A roughly eight-mile portion of the Houston Ship Channel from the Sidney Sherman Bridge to Greens Bayou closed from 9pm ET 16 May to 1am ET today when two ships brokeaway from their moorings, and officials looked in a potential fuel oil spill, according to the US Coast Guard. The portion that closed provides access to Valero's 215,000 b/d Houston refinery, LyondellBasell's 264,000 b/d Houston refinery and Chevron's Pasadena refinery. By Nathan Risser Houston area refineries Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction


16/05/24
16/05/24

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction

Corrects volume of oil carried by barge in fourth paragraph. Houston, 16 May (Argus) — Authorities closed a six-mile section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near Galveston, Texas, because of an oil spill caused by a barge collision with the Pelican Island causeway bridge. The section between mile markers 351.5 and 357.5 along the waterway closed, according to the US Coast Guard. A barge broke away from the Philip George tugboat and hit the bridge between Pelican Island and Galveston around 11am ET today. Concrete from the bridge fell onto the barge and triggered an oil leak. The barge can hold up to 30,000 bl oil, but it was unknown how full the barge was before the crash, Galveston County county judge Mark Henry said. It was unclear when the waterway would reopen. An environmental cleanup crew was on the scene along with the US Coast Guard and Texas Department of Transportation to assess the damage. Multiple state agencies have debated the replacement of the 64-year-old bridge for several years, Henry said. The rail line alongside the bridge collapsed. Marine traffic does not pass under the bridge. By Meghan Yoyotte Intracoastal Waterway at Galveston Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months


16/05/24
16/05/24

Dangote seeks 2mn bl/month WTI crude for 12 months

London, 16 May (Argus) — Nigeria's 650,000 b/d capacity Dangote refinery has issued a tender for the supply of 2mn bl of US WTI crude each month, for 12 months starting in July, according to a tender document seen by Argus . Dangote will accept offers on a delivered cif basis to Lekki, Nigeria, and on a fob basis from Houston and Corpus Christi, Tx. It was not stated whether the fob offers would be against WTI or Brent. The tender closes on 21 May. Dangote came online at the end of 2023 and its throughout capacity is planned to reach around 350,000 b/d a its first phase of operations. The refinery received its first crude cargo on 6 December and since then deliveries have averaged 179,000 b/d, according to data from Vortexa. Light sweet WTI accounted for 42,000 b/d, or 23pc of the total. By Lina Bulyk and Kuganiga Kuganeswaran Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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